Tuesday, 3 September 2013

San Francisco life update, and crossroads

Beauty Scribbler

It's Labor Day today in the US... a day when all us "workers" get a day off. It's hard to believe I've been living in the US for three years and I'm experiencing all these public holidays for the third time.

Today I noticed that once again I was taking my age up a notch on my blog's "About me" profile. I begrudgingly edited it from 29 to 30 (of which I became a few months ago). I did for a moment hesitate and wonder if I should a) let myself be 29 for the foreseeable future or b) remove my age completely. But then I thought, actually if I was reading this blog, I would like to know how old I was so I could have some context on the stuff I'm reviewing. I have a face that could be 20 or 40, so maybe it's useful to people.

My 30th birthday was a blast. I had a karaoke party while in New York. We hired a room that fitted 50 of us and it was so much fun I was sad when it ended. It's times like those when I feel really lucky for the people in my life because there's always a part of me that avoids throwing a party because I worry no-one will turn up. I was apprehensive about no longer being in my 20s, but when the big 3-0 came and went, I felt a sense of acceptance and calm. I spent my teens and early 20s feeling out of place and different, and I worried constantly about not being *insert any positive trait you can think of* enough. My late 20s were when I finally grew into myself and said to myself, "This is me, and it's good to be me". I'm never going to look like a Victoria's Secret model, speak five languages or create world peace, but I've had some amazing adventures and I know there will be loads more to come.

I'm still in San Francisco where I moved for mine and my husband's work, but mostly for his. I've been here for seven months now. It's taking me a while to feel at home here, and I'm still not sure I "get" it. Since moving here, I've been doing two weeks in San Francisco, one week in New York for work. It's tiring (it's a 5-6 hour flight between SF and NY, with NO IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT) and hasn't helped with feeling at home here. Every time I went back to New York I wanted to stay. I sometimes missed my life there so much I felt a physical, yearning pain. I feel bad, guilty even, that I don't love San Francisco... I'm just not a West Coast girl. We drive out of the city a lot at weekends (the pic above is from a hike we did near Alpine Lake in Marin County this weekend), but the city itself I'm yet to fall for. San Francisco is a nice city.... it's just not New York. New York taints anyone who lives there. It's also always cold in the evenings here, which no-one truly believes until they come here. And it's far. Unlike New York, San Francisco feels like a different world.

Work is fine, nothing to report. There have been some hard bits this year, but I seem to have pulled through. San Francisco working hours are shunted upwards (i.e. they typically start and finish earlier than In NY), probably because we're three hours behind NY, and eight hours behind the UK so there's literally no time for dawdling. So I'm in and out of the office much earlier these days.

Life otherwise is good, I'm getting to see lots of new places being on the West Coast (including Hawaii and lots of California). But I'm starting to miss having a "home" or a base. We're still living a sort of temporary life in SF. Our belongings are still in storage somewhere in New York because we decided to stay in our corporate apartment instead of committing to a longer term rental place because we don't know how long we'll be here. I miss doing simple things like shopping for cushions. Sometimes it's liberating to have no roots, but I envy people who are more settled and have proper homely homes.

I'm at a point now where I should probably decide where I want to be (at some point I have to start thinking about babies and stuff). As someone who hates making plans and committing to things, I'm finding this hard. Do I give San Francisco another chance, and try harder to like it here? Should I try to move back to New York or will I be disappointed if it's not as good as I remember it? Should we move back to London to be closer to family and to put down some roots? Or try somewhere new altogether before we get tied down? I know I'm sticking my head in the sand a little (or a lot). I should be grateful I have a choice. All I know is that by the time I've made a decision, and I am finally reunited with my belongings that are currently in storage, everything is going to seem vintage.

On the beauty front, I didn't realise I would be without my belongings for so long, so all I took with me when I moved here was the bare minimum of make-up - literally like one eyeshadow, one blush, as if I was just going away for the weekend! Thus I've kind of got used to my pared down beauty products and I'm really not experimenting much with make-up right now - I'm pretending really hard to be one of those carefree girls who feels confident wearing the most minimal slicks of mascara. Skincare on the other hand I've been trying all sorts of things. I sometimes look back on some of my old posts where I look noticeably fresher-faced and suddenly feel a desperate need to find products to turn back the clock, or at least halt it.

Well, what a rambling mess this post turned out to be (that's what happens when you don't blog for ages). I almost feel like I should delete it all and not post at all. But I've written it now... so here goes...

9 comments:

  1. Great to see you blogging again :) missed your posts and happy belated birthday1!

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  2. Great post, and it's nice to read you again! I've lived in the UK now for three years, originally from Australia, so I know what it's like to have to settle in somewhere.

    My advice? Find out if you want to stay in SF. If you do, (or you must stay for work) then the only way you'll ever feel at home is to invest in the local community. I don't know what your other interests are, but I'm really into the arts, and so I went to gallery exhibitions and talks, and slowly - took about 9 months - I made friends, and started to recognise people. Suddenly the city seemed friendlier, and I didn't mind being here so much.

    Sam

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    Replies
    1. You're totally right.. I've always known deep inside that's what I need to do, I've just needed to make that decision/switch in my head which would let me invest in the community here. I think I have made the decision to move on by mid next year, but it's still long enough that I should try harder!

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  3. Happy belated birthday ma'am!

    Only your guts can tell you where you want to be but you've still got plenty of time for all that baby stuff, you're in such a great position to explore!

    You'll know when you truly yearn to put down major roots because you just won't even consider any alternatives, I reckon the advent of your thirties is just filling you with loads of "ohhhh, I should be doing this now... tick tock tick tock etc"

    Either way, you're looking really well, glad to see this update x

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your wise perspective as always! Yeah I think it is a bit of hitting my 30s that is making me feel like that. These moments of unrest and indecision seem to come around every 5 years! x

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  4. Happy belated birthday.

    I really recognize myself in your post. I am French, my husband is Irish and we've lived in various places (among which London). It is true it is difficult to make a decision when you have many options (we are freelancers and can work from home anywhere in the world as long as we have an internet connection). But I have to say it is nice to be not far from your family when you have children. All the best...

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  5. Not sure if you're into fitness, but I'd recommend taking up yoga. It teaches you to live in the present, and I've learned to deal with a lot of growing pains thru yoga. Plus, I've had some amazing a-ha moments during yoga. If you're in the Berkeley area, try CorePower!

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  6. Hey,

    You sound like you are having such an adventure, and you can really enjoy all these different experiences for now. I always wanted to do what you are doing now, but I find it really hard to break away from family.

    I guess when you are ready to think about babies in a few years you might want to feel somewhere stable and happy, and perhaps have some family around you? (You know we have much better maternity leave in the UK right? *cough*)

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